By Peter Prokosch
We are all in shock about the Russian war and invasion of Ukraine. We should try where we individually could do anything positive to help the people affected by this tragedy. We also think about our members and partners both in Ukraine and Russia. As mentioned in our other article about the Arctic, how can peaceful environmental cooperation continue after Russia went to war against Ukraine and thereby caused its isolation from significant parts of the world? Or would it now be even more important to keep open as much as possible talking channels and not disconnect from the many friendships among scientists, politicians, organizations, and many others, which have been building up in the last three decades?
And have not travellers and tourism also played a significant role in building friendships all over the globe? If one global decision has more unified and connected us in the world, it can be seen in the Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs) more than 190 nations of the UN decided to follow up till the end of this present decade. The SDGs could be taken as the new bible for all of us, independent of which religion we have or which nation we belong to. And both tourism and education can contribute to all 17 of them, including No 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and No 17 (Cooperation for the Goals).
LT&C has devoted itself to supporting the SDG targets 14.4 and 15.1 for a complete network of protected areas on land and below water. Meanwhile, we have published 52 LT&C-Examples, where it can be demonstrated how tourism can support the establishment or development of national parks or other types of protected nature areas. We believe the biodiversity SDGs (14 & 15), together with the ones on Water (6), and Climate (13), are the primary basis if all the others should also be reached by 2030 (see graphic below).
There is no question that we have to continue our work and that also travellers can contribute to reaching the most critical global goals. The connection to the Russian war is already apparent for the climate goal. With its unjustified invasion of Ukraine, Russia has provoked the EU and other parts of the world to invest massively into the independence of fossil energy. Suppose this would lead to more drastic cuts in climate emissions than ever thought. The protection of global biodiversity is equally crucial for our future. And as protected areas are the essential tool to safeguard nature, you as a traveller should do even more than ever to combine your interest to experience nature with supporting the protection of nature. The LT&C-Examples provide already guiding in this respect. Keep a view on our website, where you can study and experience such examples or become even a provider of a new LT&C-Example.